Wardens

Wardens

They tried to measure my soul,
taking my blood,
scanning my brain.

In drones and machines,
in the arena of quantifiable actuality
the alabaster philosophers sat with me,
instructed that I was a golem.

“Here’s when you will die.”
They held out the chart;
I followed the pointer along the line.

At a cliff
is when the magic would wear off.
I’d atomize, shatter insolubly,
become the grainy food for the vegetable lords.

I won’t be going anywhere. I don’t have to wonder.
The tintinnabulation of bedpans filled the days,
whimpers in the pink dawns, eked.
Travelers came
with blankets, brass and beads,
braided sweetgrass around my wrists,
recited the folksy litanies.

Who slips in and out of space
better than the immobilized?
I could knead the hours in my head.

In the wan hallways
where nurses cluck and sputter
ghosts will visit their old grave beds.

I saw them all, low-slung and creeping on the tile.
Pariah dogs who sought some bones
I fed them my drugged fears.

They spat them out.
Squatted
on the foot of my isle, relaying to me
with decrepit hands clutched to knife knees
how best to navigate the seas

when it was time.

First published in Whimperbang October 2019.

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